Derm Appeal Blog

Patrick H. Bitter, Jr., MD, is a world-renowned board-certified dermatologist with a remarkable professional dermatologic career. He completed his medical degree and dermatology residency at the Stanford University School of Medicine after graduating with highest honors in Biology at the University of California. He later founded Advanced Aesthetic Dermatology and has practices in both Los Gatos and Beverly Hills, California. But perhaps the most significant aspect of Dr. Bitter’s career is his invention of the FotoFacial™ procedure, a nonsurgical method of using pulsed light to rejuvenate aged skin. 

Pulsed Light Technology

Pulsed Light Technology is the use of high-intensity visible light to treat various skin conditions. The light energy is emitted at different wavelengths that target specific molecules of color in the skin (chromophores). It is a non-invasive, non-ablative treatment with no prolonged recovery time, making it an attractive alternative to laser treatment. 

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) was introduced into medical practice over 20 years ago. It was initially intended for the treatment of unsightly leg veins (telangiectasias), but it was found to be incredibly ineffective and instead caused more problems than it solved. In fact, the response was so negative that dermatologists and experts had begun to condemn its use altogether. 

The Birth of the FotoFacial™ procedure

Despite the negativity surrounding the new technology, Dr. Bitter, who was at the time sharing a practice with his dermatologist father, continued to try new methods to treat his patients by use of the IPL technology. He started with patients suffering from rosacea, a condition that causes redness on the face. Dr. Bitter began treating his patients’ entire face instead of just spots like many of his colleagues were doing at the time. Over time, Dr. Bitter found that his patients’ rosacea not only improved dramatically, but their skin also appeared healthier and more youthful. Patients returned to see him, recounting the compliments they were receiving from friends and family about how healthy and good-looking their skin appeared.

As Dr. Bitter saw continued success with his treatments, he grew more aware of the significance of what he was offering and what it could mean to the field of aesthetic dermatology. He knew his discovery would be a game-changer and was eager to share his breakthrough. 

In 1998, Dr. Bitter presented what he had since named the FotoFacial™ procedure at the International Dermatology Conference in Athens, Greece. Two years later, he published his paper, “Demonstrating the Efficacy and Safety of the Fotofacial Procedure in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery.” Since then, the FotoFacial™ procedure has become one of the most popular and mainstream procedures in the field of aesthetic dermatology. Dr. Bitter has performed over 40,000 FotoFacial™ treatments on thousands of patients and has trained thousands of aesthetic practitioners in its use. He and his wife, Abla Christiansen, are regular participants in the FotoFacial™ procedure. Dr. Bitter states he himself has had over 100 treatments as he enjoys the resulting youthful, healthy-looking skin. 

BroadBand Light Therapy (BBL)

After the success of Dr. Bitter’s FotoFacial™ procedure, IPL device manufacturing companies took hold of the increasing demand. One company based in California, Sciton, soon developed Broadband Light Therapy (BBL). This is essentially the next level of IPL treatment and is seen as the most advanced and effective method of light treatments for skin rejuvenation. Although IPL and BBL therapies are similar in that they are both noninvasive, nonablative therapies with little to no downtime, they work in different ways. 

IPL uses intense pulsed light that heats up the skin and stimulates collagen production. Broadband light uses broad-spectrum light that is delivered deep into the skin to stimulate collagen and reduce the signs of aging. Dr. Bitter’s research proves that treatments with BBL change the genetic expression of skin cells, making older skin cells act like younger ones. The gene expression resulting from FotoFacial™ treatments with Broadband light slows down the aging process.

Making use of this new BBL technology, Dr. Bitter has continued to develop specialized procedures for skin rejuvenation. In his recent DermDocs podcast, Finding the Fountain of Youth: How Light Keeps Your Skin Glowing, Dr. Bitter, speaking of the new BBL technology, stated, “This is a very exciting time for aesthetic practitioners and for our patients as advances in energy based devices have made correcting skin easier and more effective than ever before.”

Awards and recognition

Dr. Bitter’s success has earned him the Male Dermatologist of the Year at MyFaceMyBody Awards USA 2018. In 2018 he was also featured on the cover of MedEsthetics Magazine, and more recently, in March 2022, on the cover of Top Doctor Magazine. Dr. Bitter is a regular contributor to various publications where he shares his knowledge on skin rejuvenation using light therapy. His status as a key opinion leader (KOL) in the field means he is a favorite invitee to numerous aesthetic dermatologic conferences where he is able to share his expertise and treatment methods with other dermatologists – both professional and novice.

LiVDerm’s South Beach Symposium (SBS) is no exception. Dr. Bitter contributes to our esteemed faculty of dermatologists and is a regular educator at our live events. It’s a great opportunity to see Dr. Bitter as well as other leading experts in the field of medical and aesthetic dermatology. 

Going forward

Dr. Bitter shows no signs of slowing his innovative mindset. Since developing the FotoFacial™ procedure, Dr. Bitter has also developed additional treatments to enhance sexual wellness in both men (ManUp™) and women (LoveTyte™) using light therapy. Both the ManUp™ and LoveTyte™ procedures are available at his practice. Furthermore, in 2019, he developed HealLYTE™, a treatment that improves soft tissue pain and healing.

In 2022, he developed the TurboFacial™ and TurboBody™ treatments and the FlawlessFacial ™ using the newest version of broadband light (BBL HERO) to create his trademark “smoother, clearer, healthier, younger-looking skin.”

 Dr. Bitter’s passion and dedication to the field of aesthetic dermatology is one of the many things that has driven his success and a fundamental contributing factor to his cutting-edge procedures. 

“One of the reasons I’m invited to speak and share what I have a passion for and what I spend my professional time doing day in and day out is making skin look more attractive and having people feel good about how they look. That is what I do, and that is what I love doing.”




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